Leatherleaf – Chamaedaphne Calyculata: Edible & Alt Uses of the Sun Tea of Wild Plants

Leatherleaf – Chamaedaphne calyculata

Leatherleaf (chamaedaphne calyculata) is common around Haliburton, Ontario, in bogs and on the edges of wetlands. This shrubby evergreen plant is often walked past, but if you notice it and get close you may see its white bell shaped flowers covered in ants. If you see leatherleaf, you’re in a wetland! The flowers may remind …

Read more

Pipsissewa – Chimaphila Umbellata: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Bitter Wintergreen of Wild Plants

Pipsissewa - Chimaphila Umbellata

In Chippewa, ga’gige’bug meaning “everlasting leaf” for its evergreen-ness, “pipsissewa” is a Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi name meaning “It-breaks-into-small-pieces”. It’s one of my favorite edible and medicinal plants to observe blooming in the wild. The delicate umbrella like flowers are unique here. Pipsissewa (chimaphila umbellata) is uncommon here, and may be found in sparsely wooded, usually rocky areas. I typically …

Read more

American Wintergreen – Gaultheria Procumbens: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Other Snowberry of Wild Plants

American Wintergreen - Gaultheria Procumbens

In Chippewa, wini’sibugons’  meaning “dirty leaf”, American wintergreen is often called Eastern tea berry now. It’s edible and medicinal, but you have to mind the amount you use because the oil is toxic if overdosed. Similar to Aspirin, just a tsp of pure wintergreen oil is the equivalent of 21 and a half adult aspirins. American …

Read more

Ghost Pipe – Monotropa Uniflora: Edible & Medicinal Uses of That’s Not a Mushroom of Wild Plants

Ghost Pipe - Monotropa Uniflora

Ghost pipes are an herb most will mistake for a mushroom. This pale wildflower has forgone photosynthesis and can often be found in the darkest woods. It’s one of the many medicinal plants that should probably be left alone due to being rarer and in this case, especially hard to propagate. There are many names …

Read more

Lowbush Blueberry – Vaccinium Angustifolium: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Super Berry of Wild Plants

Lowbush blueberry - Vaccinium angustifolium

In Chippewa, minaga’wunj, blueberry. Lowbush (also called “low sweet”) blueberry is common here, as is velvet-leaf blueberry (vaccinium myrtilloides) which thrives around marshes. I’ve heard a few personal anecdotes from locals about picking blueberries all the while watching a black bear or bears doing the same nearby. There’s a myth (I originally believed!) that blackflies …

Read more